Business Travel at Its BestAngela | July 29th, 2007 | 6:44 pm
I’ve been doing some pretty regular travel lately for work and I am 0 for 2 on recent hotels. One of the features of most of my business travel is that it ain’t very fancy. Usually stints at the Novotel or Travel Lodge chains, and various cattle class flights (no business class for me).
Mostly I’m not too picky about that kind of stuff. I usually try to make up for the traveling salesman-style accommodation by finding an interesting restaurant for dinner (don’t get me started on per diems that barely cover the cost of breakfast and lunch, let alone dinner.)
But the last two weeks I have really hit the jackpot on hotels. Not. Last week I was in Canberra for a night and decided to stay at the venue where our client engagement was scheduled. Though admittedly modestly priced, the website made the rooms out to be rather decent, and as this was a government client, we were happy to secure a booking. When we arrived by taxi from the airport, I had to wonder if we were at the correct hotel. You see, this was not a hotel, but a motel. An honest-to-Pete motel, right out of the late 60’s.
An efficient desk clerk checked my colleague and I into our rooms and informed us that breakfast would be included the next morning. Then we hiked across the parking lot to our rooms. To be fair, Canberra is a small city (about 333,000â€”the size of Toledo), but we were certainly expecting a higher standard, particularly given the misleading photos on their website. I’ve stayed in Day’s Inns that were nicer than this place.
These are the images from the hotel’s website
This is an image of the actual room
And the bathroom is no beauty either
I won’t even comment on the decor. You can see for yourself. But it’s cold in Canberra this time of year, and tile floors don’t feel that nice. Also, the bathroom featured a ventilation fan that came on with the light switch and blew in 38 degree air from outside. This did not complement the low pressure shower that just got you wet enough to increase the chill. I can see how they save water. I had to get out of there as quickly as possible, and then brushed my teeth with the light off, just to prevent more cold air coming in. There were no complimentary toiletries, just a multipurpose dispenser in the shower labeled “soap/shampoo/conditioner”. The best that can be said is that it was clean, apart from the permanent water stains ringing the toilet. I did finally figure out how to operate the wall-mounted heating unit, thank goodness.
This week I was in Brisbane overnight and stayed in a charming neighborhood called Kangaroo Point, on the other side of the river. This time the booking was made for me, and apparently there were few rooms available in the city at all. Again, the hotel’s website painted a picture of modern decency. Again, it was a complete lie. See the website: Now see the actual room:
These were the photos featured on the hotel website
Here is a photo of the actual room
Once again, it was a time-warp experience taking me back to the early 70’s. And this time, it wasn’t nearly as clean. Think: 30 years of accumulated grime. Have you ever tried spending a night in a room without touching anything? Oh, and due to Brisbane’s current severe drought, there was a note requesting that showers be limited to 3 minutes. That’s OK. Didn’t want to wash my hair there anyway. Even considered not bathing at all, given the growth of black mould around the shower drain.
So what’s the deal with hotels and the truthiness of their advertising? I’ve stayed in backpacker hostels that were nicer than these places! And to think these are business trips where I’m supposed to be alert, refreshed, and high-performing the next day. Instead I just feel slightly grimy and worse for the wear.